Transcriptional Regulation of Plant Growth and Defense: Old School But With New Tricks

Plant Biology

Zhengqing Fu, University of South Carolina

March 25, 2024 @ 12:15 pm to 01:15 pm

108 Wartik Laboratory
University Park

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Plant diseases collectively cause an annual loss of over $220 billion to the global economy. Studies using the model Arabidopsis thaliana plant, scientists have discovered major players in plant defense against pathogen infections. Among them, EDS1 functions as a central hub in pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity, effector-triggered immunity, plant basal defense, and systemic acquired resistance. However, despite many years of research, the exact molecular and biochemical function of EDS1 remain obscure. We show that EDS1 forms a protein complex with NPR1, both of which function as transcriptional activators and interact with transcription factors to activate the expression of plant defense genes. In a separate project, we found that plants coordinate growth and defense through EDS1 in the salicylic acid pathway and BZR1 in the brassinosteroid pathway.

About the Speaker:
Dr. Zhengqing Fu joined the Department of Biological Science at the University of South Carolina, Columbia in 2003. As an associate professor, he mainly teaches an upper-level biochemistry class. After receiving his Ph.D. degree in 2008 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under the supervision of Dr. Jim Alfano, He then joined Dr. Xinnian Dong’s lab at Duke University and worked as a postdoc for five years. The research projects in his lab focus on the type III secretion system and type III effectors from Gram-negative plant bacterial pathogens and salicylic acid-mediated plant defense against plant pathogens.


Hong Ma